Tea and Health 101

During the Toronto Tea Festival last month I sat in on a 45-minute tea talk about the wonders of tea and its health benefits.  I thought it would be a good time to share what I have learned and let you guys know that the health benefits of tea should not be the only reason why you drink tea.  People are so concerned with what tea does what and how beneficial it is to your body when ALL tea is good for you.  That’s the main thing I want you to take away from this is that every tea is good for your body, so don’t worry about the next weight loss tea because you’re already doing a good job if you drink any tea.

As someone who works at Davids Tea I get a lot of questions about the health benefits of tea.  “Which one will make me loose weight?”…”How much caffeine is in this one?” and one of my personal favourites, “What does this tea DO?”  What does it do?  Well it… ummm tastes good?  That is not a sufficient enough answer for some.  Instead, people want to hear that tea is a magical remedy for everything health related from loosing weight to having clear skin.  And sometimes I believe that tea is a magical drink because I feel great drinking it.  That should be enough shouldn’t it?
Michelle Pierce Hamilton was the speaker that led the tea and health discussion at the Toronto Tea Festival this past February.  She was excellent!  I love that she didn’t make any concrete claims such as “this particular tea will make you loose 20 pounds!” but instead educated us about how all tea is beneficial to your body.  One of the first things she explained was how tea works together with your body.  Synergy is the word she used to explain how tea works within your body.  Tea should not be consumed as a supplement or an extract, but as a beverage.  It should be a part of your healthy lifestyle, not the only part of it.

On the other hand, tea does have a lot of health benefits.  Michelle talked about tea supporting your central nervous system allowing you to concentrate better, meditate and how it does not increase stress levels much like other caffeinated drinks.  Tea is also a good digestive aid, especially pu’erh because it is fermented and fermented foods contain probiotics which can improve your digestive system.

Now let’s talk about weight loss.  Is tea the new weight loss cure?  Maybe.  If you are replacing coca-cola with green tea than it can contribute to weight loss.  Consuming green tea can also increase energy expenditure, which means you burn energy faster and prevent the accumulation of fat in your cells.  But if you do not like the taste of green tea then why drink it?  Experiment with different green teas and find one that you actually enjoy drinking as a beverage and you will enjoy your healthy lifestyle a lot more.  If you are still eating McDonalds everyday but drinking your green instead of your coca-cola, I’m not sure you will be seeing the results you hope for.

I really enjoyed Michelle’s concept of tea working together with the rest of your body and well being.  She said something that really stood out to me at the end of her speech. If you drink tea, eat a plant based diet, exercise and have love in your life than everything will work together in your body to make you a happier and healthier person.  I am paraphrasing here but I appreciated that she included love as a part of a healthy diet because it shouldn’t be just about one aspect of healthy living but everything working in sync together.

meditation

Check out Michelle’s website and read more about the benefits of tea in my upcoming blog posts!

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Pink Flamingo Iced Tea

Quick! Stock up on the summer teas because it won’t be much longer until fruity iced teas go into hiding!  Well you can always seek them out of course, but fall is coming and those pumpkin-inspired toasty teas are reading to fall into your lap.  Ha-ha did you get my pun there?

Iced teas are easier to make from loose leaf tea than you may think and they taste delicious.  I find that most people think iced tea can be really watery, but in fact most people are probably used to high sugar drinks that are super sweet and have loads of sugar in them.  So do not expect a sweet sweet drink when you make an iced tea from loose leaf tea and anyway you’re probably already sweet enough if you’re reading this blog;)  However, if you do want that extra sweetness you can always add some honey or agave.

One of my favourite iced teas in the summertime is Pink Flamingo tea!

I must say Pink Flamingos are pretty awesome especially because they can stand on their one leg for so long.  They definitely have those yoga skills I’m working towards…downward dog, swan dive and pink flamingo!  Okay I made the pink flamingo pose up, but you totally want to try that pose now don’t you?  It would probably look something like this guy…

and breathe, and hold for two more breaths…

Anyway, this pink flamingo tea is, I hope you’ve already guessed…PINK!  And what makes tea pink?  In this case it is the hibiscus flower and beetroot in the tea that creates this lovely pink colour when you steep it.  You can drink this tea iced or hot, but on a nice summers day this tea is perfect when it is iced in a tall glass with a little umbrella in it.  Apple, carrot, eucalyptus and orange peel are just a few more of the other ingredients that make up this delicious tea.  For the longest time I was convinced I tasted grapefruit, the combination of these different ingredients creates a unique taste that keeps you wanting more.  The citrus flavour balances out the other ingredients and gives you the right amount of zing you’ll need when sitting under that hot hot sun!  Or make yourself a little drink after yoga, get creative and add a little splash of white wine!
How to make Iced Tea:

First, Use double the amount you would normally use for any loose leaf tea and either (a) use a magic steeper to steep your tea or (b) a stainless steel mesh ball/cup.  After the tea has steeped for a few minutes, in Pink Flamingo’s case 4-7 minutes, you can add some ice and VOILA you have iced tea! In the magic steeper’s case, there is more room for flavours to swim around and you can just pour over a glass full of ice.  Make sure you add a hearty handful of ice because the tea has to go from being super hot to cold quickly.  Since you need to add ice when the tea has been steeped, it is important that you add double the amount of tea so you can get optimal flavour in your cup.  Too watery? Add more tea when steeping next time and if you need that extra little bit of sweetness pour some of that honey/agave in your cup and you’re good to go!

Also, check out my Tea Time board on Pinterest, just click the picture and it will bring you to my board.

Inspired by Pink Flamingo tea, which you can purchase at DavidsTea.

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